How many OHIO players got their own SI cover? (via Sports Illustrated)
MACwood Squares is our summer reading series on the best athletes in Mid-American Conference sports history. This week features OHIO. Looking for your MAC school? Consult our schedule for other teams and please submit your nominees as well.
OHIO follows a similar pattern: oddity legend in the '40s, high scorers in the '80s, and some dominant forwards in the '90s. But since the late 80s they've always seemed to be loaded with talent. Between 1989 and 1995, OHIO players won MAC POY all but once, distributed amongst four different people. They're everywhere.
So we'll start with a list of six, and I may know of one omission that may cause some fury, but that just shows how much dominance there was coming from Athens throughout their history. Sorry, little dude.
Frank Baumholtz (1939-41) — There's a reason you're never going to see No. 54 draped over a man's body in the Convocation Center again. Baumholtz led his team to the 1941 NIT Championship game, only to Long Island. But Baumholtz was named the tournament MVP, and the only MAC player ever get grab this honor.
Walter Luckett (1973-75) — He was actually drafted three times in his career: twice by the ABA (San Antonio, 1974 and Memphis, 1975) and then once by the NBA (Pistons, 1975) but never played for any of them. And while he's not remarkably high on the stat charts, I don't remember any other Bobcats players who got their own Sports Illustrated cover.
Paul Graham (1985-89) — Once expectations chased him after the 1986 MAC FOY, he followed through by being named the conference's top player in 1989. He also briefly held the all-time scoring record. For, like, a year. It was still enough to put him into the NBA for three years with the Atlanta Hawks.
Dave Jamerson (1986-90) — A rather obvious selection. He has the school record in points (2,336) which ranks third all-time on the MAC list. He's also the only MAC player ever to net 60 points in a game. The 15th overall selection in 1990 didn't make many waves with the Rockets, and matters didn't help much more when he tore his ACL in a pickup game, sidelining him for an entire year.
Gary Trent (1992-95) — You don't get a better '90s nickname than "The Shaq of the MF'ing MAC." Trent had 2,108 points and 1,050 rebounds, which at the time was the most boards by a Bobcat ever. For a "Shaq"-brand moniker, though he didn't do so hot on the blocked shots (just 105 for his career — Patrick Flomo had that many in one SEASON) but he was three-times MAC Player of the Year (and the only one to be so while also grabbing Freshman of the Year). And how's third-team All-America in 1995 sound for you? Trent even had a pretty decent NBA career, thanks to the 11th overall pick in '95 and kept it going for nine seasons with the Blazers, Mavericks, and Timberwolves. (The Bucks actually drafted him but wanted nothing to do with him.)
Brandon Hunter (1999-2003) — Another big bruiser, Hunter is one of two Bobcats in the 2K/1K club (2,012 points, 1,103 rebounds). Those rebounds are fifth all time on the MAC list, and three times on the MAC first-team ain't bad either. A short NBA career didn't yield much (despite being drafted in 2003's second round) with the Celtics or Magic. The obligatory Tour of Europe happened after that. He gets overlooked a lot, mostly since he had to go up against folks like Chris Kaman, Anthony Stacey, and Theron Smith. God, basketball was so good back then.
Also: Geno Ford is the damn textbook definition of an honorable mention, but despite his great HS career, other OHIO players overshadow him. And not just height. Leon Williams and Jerome Tillman have also been dynamite in recent years. And who knows how far DJ Cooper will rise in the pantheon of Bobcats legends. We're not there yet.
Who are your nominees for OHIO's MACwood Squares? Comment below, tweet us at @HustleBelt or submit a FanPost making your case. The final nine will be revealed Friday.
Who's the greatest OHIO basketball player of all time?
Frank Baumholtz (5 votes)
Walter Luckett (5 votes)
Paul Graham (1 vote)
Dave Jamerson (7 votes)
Gary Trent (91 votes)
Brandon Hunter (3 votes)
Other (mention in comments) (3 votes)
115 total votes